We met Edmond on our trip to East Africa
He’s a resident at a Watsi partner hospital in Kenya. But when he returns home to Rwanda, he’s going to do something that has never been done before.
Find out what he’s planning, and check out the photo blog from our trip to East Africa.
Watsi is looking for a senior full-stack engineer to join our six-person team in San Francisco. The ideal candidate is an experienced generalist, product-focused, and excited about using their skills to bring healthcare to the world.
If you’re interested in applying / learning more, please send whatever info you have (linkedin, github, and/or personal site) to chase at watsi.org.
When Dan and Julie got married, they did something incredible. Instead of asking their friends and family for gifts, they pooled their money and funded healthcare for dozens of patients on Watsi.
"We thought about how much we needed extra housewares in comparison to the needs we saw on Watsi. We felt great about it. The donations literally changed people’s lives."
We were so excited to see Dan and Julie spread the love to Watsi patients. If you’re interested in following in their footsteps and making Watsi a part of your big day, email email@example.com!
We’ve looked up to Supercell, a Finnish mobile game-maker, since they won “Founders of the Year” at Founders Forum last year.
Ilkka Paananen, Supercell CEO, said something about culture that day that we’ll never forget. That, “the definition of great culture is that most people hate it, but a small group of people love it.” Supercell’s approach to running a company, not to mention their meteoric growth, have inspired our team ever since.
Today, we’re thrilled to announce that Ilkka and one of the other six Supercell co-founders, Mikko Kodisoja, are making a generous donation to Watsi’s operations. After watching them be part of the team that has grown Supercell from a small startup to a three billion dollar company, we can’t wait to have their help and mentorship as we take Watsi to the next level.
Meet Sophal, Samnang, and Bonica. They’re the doctors who care for Watsi patients in Cambodia.
So far, they’ve treated 257 Watsi patients. Let’s help them get to 258 today!
Meet their new patients.
Friends of Watsi,
We’re excited to announce a big change. After careful consideration and consulting from our advisory board, we decided that updating the color of our logo would help us better represent our core values. We appreciate your support, and look forward to making you proud with our new look.
Just kidding — a multi-billion dollar health insurance company threatened to oppose our trademark application and asked us to change the color of our logo.
We have to retire our blue logo by the end of March. But first, we’re going to have a little fun. For three days only, we’re selling limited edition blue logo Watsi tees and dedicating 100% of the profits to patients on Watsi.
On the deadline of March 31st, you’re invited to a bonfire [UPDATE: Bonfire postponed due to weather!] at Ocean Beach in San Francisco to bid farewell to all evidence of our blue logo. In the event you posses blue contraband after that date, we recommend wearing it inside out to prevent any further legal action ;)
Reserve your blue logo Watsi tee before it’s too late!
PS — We’re hiring a full-stack developer to join our team. Email chase at watsi dot org if you’re interested.
- Have you gotten an organization started on Google Adwords before?
- Do you do keyword research in your sleep?
- Have you managed successful retargeting campaigns?
- Could you teach us a thing or two about Facebook ads?
If so, we want to talk to you.
We’re looking for a volunteer with online advertising experience to join our SF team 1-2 days a week for 3 months to help shape our ad strategy and get Watsi in front of even more people.
This is a volunteer gig, but we’ll gladly provide unlimited office snacks, competitive ping pong, and a killer reference for a job well done.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.
Students in 826 Chicago's famous creative writing program are now writing Watsi patient profiles in their workshops!
Joining the 100+ remote writing volunteers who help us tell patient stories to the world, 826CHI’s students spent the weekend taking patient profiles submitted by Watsi partners in places like Kenya, Haiti, and Guatemala, and creating descriptions of them that will go on our website.
Their first patient profile is already live, check it out!
Cecelia spent her 40th birthday fighting cancer.
Then, in 2007, she was diagnosed again.
But Cecelia didn’t give up.
"I have the wonderful first world benefit of insurance, a good job led by supportive people, a husband who makes enough to give me the room to take care of myself," Cecelia told us. "In short, I’m rich beyond measure compared to almost everyone else in the world. I have so much to be grateful for."
Cecelia became a two-time cancer survivor. But she was at a loss for how to help other people overcome similar challenges.
"Every day I get piles and piles and piles of mail from nonprofits looking for money. I don’t blame them. I know times are tough. I’ve worked for nonprofits before and I know how things work. But it hasn’t stopped my becoming inured to the pleas. It’s like walking down a street with hundreds of hands in my way and I’ve started to feel resentful. Because of my experience, I know that the mailers I’m getting cost money, and that some of these organizations are only passing a small percentage of the donations they receive to the actual people they’re purporting to help. That’s just not right."
Then, Cecelia heard about Watsi.
"And along comes Watsi, allowing me to donate directly to someone in need. And there she is. A 60-year-old woman facing cancer and the debilitating treatments on her own, without all my resources. And all my money goes to her treatment. Allelujah!”
Our entire team is inspired by Cecelia’s story. Help her spread the health by supporting a patient on Watsi.
This is a guest post from Vince DeGennaro of Project Medishare, our partner in Haiti. It was originally published in Notre Dame Magazine and on his blog.
A phone conversation with a friend of a friend in Philadelphia changed the way that we can help people in Haiti, but it all started when a young American man on a bus in Costa Rica changed healthcare all over the world.
I watched Daniel, a skinny 15-year-old, get sicker with each passing week, unsure how to help him. Every time that he visited the hospital, the tumor on his neck had grown. His mother had come from six hours away in the north of the country to seek care from Project Medishare’s hospital in Port-au-Prince. I noticed him waiting in line for the plastic surgery clinic and pulled him aside, sure that his problem could not simply be corrected by a scalpel. A biopsy showed a rare type of throat cancer; bad luck had made him sick and poverty prevented his doting mother from obtaining care for him sooner.
Since it had not yet spread to his lungs or liver, Daniel’s cancer was still curable. The cure required radiation therapy that is only available in the Dominican Republic and costs $1500 per patient. The youngest of seven children, Daniel’s family could barely afford to send him to school let alone pay for the radiation that would save his life.
I searched around to find partners to help pay for his treatment. Partners in Health offered to pay for his radiation treatment, but this was only part of the treatment cost. Passports, Dominican visas, bus tickets, and food for six weeks added up to another $1500. I reached into my pocket to pay for the remainder, determined to not let him down. Then I stood in line with Daniel and his mother outside the Dominican embassy in Port-au-Prince, jumping up and down, shaking my stethoscope until we were permitted entrance (see the blog “Oz
Finally, Daniel was off to radiation and, with some luck, a life-saving cure. I could probably find the money for one child like Daniel every few months, but what about the scores of other young patients with curable cancers? How would we handle the deluge of cases?
Another woman in her early 50s came to our program and asked for help financing radiation treatment for her advanced cervical cancer. In the U.S., her stage of cervical cancer has more than an 80% survival rate, but in Haiti, for those who can’t afford it, the survival rate drops to zero. Marie represented another statistic in the battle against preventable and treatable cancers in developing countries. She had children who cared for her and her small business selling clothing on the street was placed on hold as she grew more fatigued with the constant blood loss from the cervical cancer.
Soon after, another young woman with advanced cervical cancer asked for our help, and the writing was on the wall — find a way to help Marie and patients like her or watch them all die.
Between her family contribution and the Haitian Support Group Against Cancer, Marie had two-thirds of the money for the radiation therapy. She only needed $500 more to travel to the Dominican Republic. I could easily reach into my own pocket for Marie as well, but where does the individual charity stop? In East Africa, there exists a saying that if you help nine poor people then you will become the tenth. The axiom isn’t anti-charity, it merely points out the magnitude of poverty around the world.
I looked through the program’s finances. Our resources would quickly become depleted if we were to enter into the business of cervical cancer but cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women in Haiti and no effective program exists to screen for and treat early stages of the disease. Not only would we run out of money quickly, but the goal of providing women with breast cancer access to first-rate treatment would be seriously diluted. We simply couldn’t do it.
“We’ll see what we can do,” I said to Marie, my words ringing hollow in my own head. Not quite a lie because I spent a large portion of the day scouring the internet for sources of funding — searching for foundational and research grants and fundraising via Twitter and the blog. I’ve learned to never say “No” because the landscape is constantly shifting and opportunities arise out of the remotest of circumstances, the smallest of gestures. Nonetheless, I turned Marie away for the time being and left her to continue her search.
“Have you heard of Watsi
?” a friend of my cousin asked me over the phone. I called him to talk about Haiti as a courtesy to my cousin, but I had no idea how much he would change the course of our work in Haiti. “An article in the New York Times
explained how they’re using crowd-sourcing like Kickstarter or Indiegogo as a force for fundraising for healthcare in developing countries. You should check them out.”
Innovative funding mechanisms like Watsi have allowed a small scale program like ours at Project Medishare to treat individual patients with funds from anonymous donors around the world. Potential donors can read about a patient’s story and see their photograph and have the ability to connect with them on a human level. Rather than donate money to a large non-profit with heavy overhead expenses, individuals can connect with patients, real human beings in need, on four continents.
More than just donating to a cause, people can connect with the patient that they identify with most: a pregnant woman in need of a safe delivery, a baby with a cleft lip in need of corrective surgery or a young mother with a small business and cervical cancer in Haiti. Since Project Medishare’s mission is to fill the gaps in the healthcare needs of the people that we serve in Haiti, partnering with Watsi made perfect sense.
We initially gathered funding to treat cancer patients like Daniel, but soon expanded to our other groups of core patients: children with hydrocephalus, clef lips/palate or other birth defects. Donors give an average of $30 each, but the small amounts add up to fund definitive treatments for those in need.
With the patient’s explicit permission, we posted Daniel
’s cases, appealing for help from the internet. Daniel’s $1500 funded in two days and Marie’s in less than a week. We had found a way to expand the reach of the program, to never have to say no.
Watsi started when Chase Adam
, a Peace Corps volunteer, conjured up the idea while on a bus in Costa Rica. From there Watsi blossomed and keeps growing in size, adding new partners like Project Medishare in the meantime. We’re grateful to Watsi for bringing us along for the ride and eternally grateful to the kind souls who help us to treat patients $30 at a time. Marie completed her treatment and Daniel is just finishing up now and you can follow their progress on Watsi
. The patients will never meet the donors who helped them but the donors already know them.